Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Child Under 13 in Your Car? Washington Law Requires They Ride in Back Seat

A recent poll by PEMCO Insurance has found that, although a vast majority of Washington drivers understand that the safest place to have a child passenger is in the back seat, just 43 percent say they see other drivers in compliance.
Children's car seat, properly used.

Washington is one of 14 states that require a child under the age of 13 be seated in the rear of a vehicle "where it is practical to do so", according to the Revised Code of Washington.

Not only are front-end crashes the most prevalent type of auto accident, the added threat posed by air bags, which are designed for adult passengers, makes the front seat a dangerous place for youngsters. Air bags can severely injure or even kill small children seated in the front seat, even in an approved car seat.

This is a disparity of opinion among drivers as to what should determine when a child can ride in the front seat. Nearly half the poll respondents said height should be the primary criteria, and another 21 percent believed that weight should be the determining factor. Only 25% of respondents agreed with the state age requirement   that the age of 13 was the key factor.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), placing kids in back instead of in front reduces injury risk by 64 percent for infants and kids up to age 8, and 31 percent for children 9 to 12.

While age is the determining factor in where children should ride, height and weight are more important in deciding when a youngster is ready to move from a child safety seat to a booster seat, or just be restrained with a seat belt.

The general rule of thumb is that children under 40 pounds should be in a car seat. As kids outgrow the height and weight requirements of a car seat, the recommendation is that they first graduate to a booster seat that allows cross-body seat belts, then eventually to just using an adult seat belt.

Although car seats and booster seats can be inconvenient and expensive, the protection they provide for small children is vital. Besides, it's the law.

To learn more about the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and view a summary of the results, visit, where the public is invited to participate in an informal version of the poll to see how their own responses compare with those collected by FBK Research of Seattle.
Child in booster seat.

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey that asked Washington drivers several questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 826 respondents in Washington, yields an accuracy of +/- 3.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than +/- 3.5 percent.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tips for Driving in the Rain

Western Washington in the winter is a pretty rainy climate, and combined with occasional freezing or near-freezing temperatures, this can make for hazardous driving conditions.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your chances of having an accident in the inclement winter weather.

Tires: Where the rubber hits the road

First, you should check your tire treads for wear. Even though you didn’t notice a difference this summer, now that wet weather is here worn tires may suddenly lose their grip on the road, and you could go sailing into another car or the ditch! Have your local tire center check to see if the tread is adequate.

Tires that are overinflated not only wear out faster, but can’t hold the road as well in wet or snowy weather. Reducing the air pressure in your tires will help you keep your car under control in treacherous conditions. By slightly reducing the pressure from 32 psi to 28 psi, you will make your tire have a little more rubber on the road surface, providing additional stability. Of course, when winter is over you will need to inflate your tires to the proper levels to avoid excessive tire wear.

Limited Visibility

Now is the time to make sure your windshield wipers are in good working condition, your windshield is clean and you have washer fluid in the reservoir. When it rains, worn wipers will streak your windshield, making it difficult to see, especially at night. Headlights of approaching vehicles will reflect this residue and make visibility even worse. Also, it is important to keep your windshield clean. Mud or leaves that get on your windshield can be smeared by your wipers, making it very difficult to see clearly, and if you get spattered by a passing car or truck, your windshield washer fluid can get it cleared off quickly.

If, for any reason, your windshield will not clear, leave the roadway as soon as safely possible and use a cloth and some clear water to thoroughly clean the window. Do the same for your other windows and side view mirrors, too.

Driving in a downpour

Usually, Seattle rain is fairly light, but occasionally a weather front will come in and dump rain in buckets. It’s best to avoid driving until it tapers off, but if you are caught in a deluge, here’s something that may help -- put on your sunglasses! Even at night, putting on your sunglasses in the pouring rain will help you see much more clearly. You will see drops on the windshield, but not the rain that's pouring down in front of your car. It also helps eliminate the sudden blindness from getting sprayed with a wall of water by a passing semi truck.

Don’t use cruise control in the rain

When you’re driving in rain, turn your cruise control off. The problem is when your tires begin to hydroplane in slippery conditions and lose contact with the road, cruise control can suddenly cause your car to accelerate to a higher rate of speed, and cause you to lose control of your car! Some cars are designed to shut cruise control down in wet or icy conditions, but yours may not be one of these.

Finally, slow down!

The speed limit may read 60 mph, but that is only applicable in optimum driving conditions. If it’s wet or icy, slow down. If you are involved in an accident in bad weather conditions, and it is found that you were going within the speed limit, that won’t help you in court if the conditions warranted slowing down. When weather conditions make driving hazardous, posted speed limits are not in effect, and motorists must drive at a safe speed or be liable for damages that they cause.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Northwest Drivers Think They Can Exceed the Freeway Speed Limits Without Getting a Ticket

A recent PEMCO Insurance poll found that drivers in both Washington and Oregon believe a driver can exceed the speed limit and not get stopped by the state patrol, but Oregon drivers are considerably bolder when it comes to how far over the limit they think they can go without getting ticketed.

As many as two out of every three Northwest drivers think that they can go a few miles per hour over the posted speed limit -- even if witnessed by the patrol -- and get away with it. But drivers in Oregon are convinced that they can go as much as nine miles-per-hour over the legal limit and not get pulled over.

That’s significantly higher than Washington, where about half the drivers think there’s some lenience on freeway speed the state patrol will allow before they turn on the blue lights. The survey found that about 60 percent of Washington drivers think the threshold is four miles-per-hour, less than half what Oregon drivers believe is allowable.

“Oregon’s lower freeway speed limit, set at 65, may explain why Oregon drivers think there’s a higher tolerance for speeding,” said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg. "Regardless, data shows that speeding causes more crashes and fatalities."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly one-half of all fatal speeding-related crashes in 2009 occurred on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more.
According to the Washington State Patrol, speeding is one of three areas where data shows motorists are most likely to be killed or injured when drivers violate posted speed limits. Other fatal behavior includes driving while impaired and failure to wear a seatbelt.
Despite the State Patrol’s emphasis on catching speeders, nine out of 10 Washington drivers admit they’ve exceeded the speed limit at least once, and half of all Washington drivers say they speed at least some of the time. The same holds true for Oregon drivers, according to the PEMCO poll.
Oregonians, however, are more likely to push speed limits, with 61 percent saying they should be quick to slow down before reaching 9 mph above the posted speed. That compares with 71 percent of Washington drivers who slow down before hitting 9 mph over the speed limit.
In either state, of those who admit to speeding, a majority say they’re simply keeping up with the flow of traffic, and a smaller fraction say they speed without realizing they’re exceeding the limit.
What’s also true for both states is the more you earn, the more likely you’ll speed. Nearly 60 percent of drivers with incomes of more than $50,000 per year admit to sometimes speeding.
Younger drivers also demonstrate less caution for slowing down. About two-thirds of drivers under age 35 admit to speeding at least some of the time, while less than half of drivers over age 35 say they sometimes speed.
"Although most of us speed at least once in a while, the major takeaway here is to remember that increased speed equals increased danger of physical harm, whether the police catch you or not," Osterberg said.
To learn more about the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and to view a summary of the results, visit, where the public is invited to participate in an informal version of the poll to see how their own responses compare with those collected by FBK Research of Seattle in April 2011 and July 2011.
Source: PEMCO Insurance

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tips to Keep Your Home From Being a Target for Burglars

Advice from Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

A home is robbed every 14.6 seconds and the average dollar loss per burglary is $2,119, according to statistics just released by the FBI. And that's the good news because burglaries were down slightly in 2010 compared to 2009. Sure you lock your doors and windows when you're not home (you'd be surprised how many people don't). But here are ten things that you're probably doing that make your home a target, and what you should do instead:
1. Leaving your garage door open or unlocked. Once inside the garage, a burglar can use any tools you haven't locked away to break into your home, out of sight of the neighbors. Interior doors between the garage and your home often aren't as strong as exterior doors and may not have deadbolt locks.
Instead: Always close and lock the garage door. Consider getting a garage-door opener with random codes that automatically reset.

2. Hiding spare keys. Burglars know about fake rocks and leprechaun statues and will check under doormats, in mailboxes, and over doorways.
Instead: Give a spare set to a neighbor or family member.

3. Storing ladders outdoors or in unlocked sheds. Burglars can use them to reach the roof and unprotected upper floor windows.
Instead: Keep ladders under lock and key.

4. Relying on silent alarm systems. Everyone hates noisy alarms, especially burglars. Smart thieves know that it can take as long as 10 to 20 minutes for the alarm company or cops to show up after an alarm has been tripped.
Instead: Have both silent and audible alarms.

5. Letting landscaping get overgrown. Tall hedges and shrubs near the house create hiding spots for burglars who may even use overhanging branches to climb onto your roof.
Instead: Trim any bushes and trees around your home.

6. Keeping your house in the dark. Like overgrown landscaping, poor exterior lighting creates shadows in which burglars can work unobserved.
Instead: Replace burned out bulbs promptly, add lighting where needed, and consider putting fixtures on motion sensors or light sensors so that they go on automatically.

7. Not securing sliding doors. These often make tempting targets.
Instead: When you're out, put a dowel down in the channel, so that the door can't be opened wide enough for a person to get through.

8. Relying on your dog to scare away burglars. While barking my deter amateurs, serious burglars know that dogs may back away from someone wielding a weapon, or get chummy if offered a treat laced with a tranquilizer.
Instead: Make your home look occupied by using timers to turn lights, radios, and TVs on and off in random patterns.

9. Leaving "goody" boxes by the curb. Nothing screams "I just got a brand new flat-screen, stereo, or other big-ticket item" better than boxes by the curb with your garbage cans.
Instead: Break down big boxes into small pieces and bundle them together so that you can't tell what was inside.

10. Posting vacation photos on Facebook. Burglars troll social media sites looking for targets.
Instead: Wait until you get back before sharing vacation details or make sure your security settings only allow trusted "friends" to see what you're up to.

Copyrighted 2009, Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking Energy Efficiency to the Next Level: Furnace-less Homes!

Want to save a bunch on heating and cooling costs in a home, even in cold climates? Build the house without a furnace. It’s possible now, and a the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has just built one. In fact, thousands of furnace-free homes have already been built in Germany, but only 15 U.S. buildings have this same level of extremely low energy use.

The house in Cleveland has walls that are more than a foot thick, big triple-pane windows, doors that resemble bank vaults and engineering that cuts heating and cooling costs, as well as pollution, by 90 percent.

These futuristic dwellings are known as “passive houses”, and cost about 20 percent more than conventional housing to build. The museum decided to give its visitors a look at what the future may hold as energy costs skyrocket.

“We have to get beyond incremental improvements to get a dramatic breakthrough,” said David Beach, the museum’s director of sound urban practices. This houses, he said, is “an example of a new way of living.”

Special Insulation is the Key

The house has an insulation system with a sealed air barrier that makes it work like a thermos. A ventilator exchanges the heat from the stale, outgoing air with the fresh incoming air, allowing very little heat to be lost. Two ductless heat pumps, one upstairs and one down, supply all the heating and cooling necessary no matter how hot or cold the outside air is.

The doors are extremely think to insulate well.
The house features huge south-facing windows which allow maximum solar heat in winter, when the sun is low in the sky. A ridge over the windows blocks much of the sunlight in the summer months, when the sun is higher in the sky.

Cleveland endures some of the harshest winters in the U.S., so if this house can achieve certification here, chances are it can do it anywhere.

A certified passive house must meet the same stringent energy-saving standards as in Germany. To qualify, a house must meet or beat 80 to 90 percent reduction of heat-trapping gases, the amount needed by mid-century to avoid creating dangerous climate shifts.

Return on Investment

The Department of Energy estimates it costs more than $900 a year to heat and cool an average house in the Ohio area. A passive house is approximately 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to code. The cost of building a passive house is about $10,000 more, so the point at which the extra cost is offset by the energy cost savings is about 10-11 years. Of course, as energy prices increase, the efficiency of passive homes will make it pay off in even less time.

Source: Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are Washingtonians Gullible or are the Legends True?

Nearly 4 in 10 Washington Residents Believe Sasquatch Exists

Washington may be home to Microsoft, Boeing and a raft of cutting-edge companies that focus on modern technology, but it might surprise you that will all that, brainpower and intellect residing here, a recent PEMCO Insurance poll found that nearly 40% of residents said they believe that it’s possible that Sasquatch does exist.

In case you aren’t familiar with the creature, Wikipedia describes Sasquatch, also known as “Big Foot”, as “…an ape-like cryptid that purportedly inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. The term "Sasquatch" is an anglicized derivative of the word "Sésquac" which means "wild man" in a Salish Native American language.

You won’t have to convince a Spokane woman of its existence. She swears she snapped a photo of the purported creature with her cell phone while walking along the Spokane River with her family. She didn’t even notice it at the time, but realized it when she looked at the video, and posted it on YouTube. You can see it here:
Sasquatch YouTube video.

Washington residents didn’t stop there. A full 13% of those surveyed in the PEMCO Northwest Poll say they’ve either seen one or know someone who has!

Washington is home to other controversial sightings, too. For instance, many people don’t know that the first purported sighting of UFOs was not in Nevada or New Mexico, but right here in Washington state, by pilot Kenneth Arnold, who was flying near Mt. Rainier in 1947 when he reported seeing nine “flying discs” that “moved like saucers across the water.” The “flying discs” reference eventually turned into the popular term “flying saucers”.

Another Northwest legend surrounds an airplane hijacker who commandeered a Northwest Airlines jumbo jet in November 1971. On the flight manifest he was listed as “Dan Cooper” (later referred to as D.B. Cooper), and he successful demanded $200,000 in ransom money while the plane sat on the tarmac in Seattle. The plane, with only Cooper and the flight crew aboard, then took off and flew south towards Oregon. At some point in time while over the Columbia River, D.B. Cooper jumped from the plane with a parachute and his loot, never to be seen again. In 1980, a boy playing along a Columbia River sandbar found $5,800 dollars of the ransom money partially buried in the sand. Did Cooper die while parachuting from that altitude, or did he lose some of his ill-gotten gains while making his escape? We may never know, but the speculation never ceases. Many believe that somewhere – maybe right here in the Northwest -- D.B Cooper is living off the ransom money, smug in the knowledge that he got away with it.

As for Sasquatch, he has found Northwest fame in a variety of ways. In the years that Seattle had a professional basketball team, the SuperSonics, their mascot was a hairy ape-like creature named “Squatch”. Recently, a beef jerky company has been creating television commercials about people who are “Messin’ with Sasquatch”, a large, hairy creature that is as dumb as a, well, Sasquatch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SAV-ON Crew Continues Tradition of Volunteering at Northwest Harvest

SAV-ON employees and family after helping out at Northwest Harvest.
Again in March, SAV-ON Insurance management, employees and even some of their children volunteered their time helping prepare food for the hungry at the Northwest Harvest warehouse in Seattle. They were put to work on the assembly line, scooping oats and putting them in bags, then placing the bags on the carousel where the bags were sealed and tossed onto a table. From there, other volunteers loaded boxes with the bags and weighed them. From there the bags are sent out to food banks around the area, helping to feed some of the thousands of hungry people that Northwest Harvest helps each month.

Volunteer work at Northwest Harvest has become a tradition for folks at SAV-ON, and employees and their families are eager to help as much as possible. This time, after a day’s work, they arrived at Northwest Harvest at 5:30 p.m. for their shift, and worked so diligently that they finished their work 15 minutes early!

One of our youngest volunteers, Breanna, was a big help, grabbing as many bags of oats as she could hold as soon as they were in the bags, and quickly delivering the bags to the waiting bag sealers. Breanna’s mother also volunteered, and she is the Des Moines agent Melodi Wheeler’s sister. Quite a family!

A special thanks to all the volunteers for their wonderful service to the less fortunate in our community!

SAV-ON is committed to helping Northwest Harvest in other ways, too. Every time someone refers a friend or family member to SAV-ON Insurance for a quote, we donate $1 to Northwest Harvest. We raised $216 in the first quarter of 2011, and that brings our total donation to more than $2,200 since we began the program a little more than a year ago!

Remember, every time you refer someone to SAV-ON Insurance for a rate quote, you’re contributing to Northwest Harvest! It's easy, just have them go to for a Quik Quote!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wearing Lap and Shoulder Belt Saves Lives

In the past 40 years, new vehicle safety standards and more sophisticated safety equipment in U.S. automakers has saved an estimated 300,000 lives! One and only one of those safety features saved more than half of those lives – seatbelts!

We all know people who refuse to wear their lap and shoulder belts, either because it’s uncomfortable, or it’s some sort of governmental intrusion into our lives. But, the fact is that seat belt use is not only the law (Click it or Ticket), but also a very smart, life-saving piece of equipment.

Most Washingtonians understand this, as a national Seatbelt Safety Study in 2006 found that only 10 states achieved seatbelt useage of 90 percent or higher, and Washington state had the highest number of individuals who used their seatbelts at 96.3 percent!

While technology keeps bringing us new safety features designed to protect us while on the road, the good old seatbelt continues to be the number one safety feature you can have in your automobile. Use it, and insist that every passenger use theirs before leaving your driveway!

Children and Seatbelts

Auto accidents are the number one killer of children ages 4-14. In 2005, and average of five children died each day and another 640 were injured!

The main reason for these awful statistics is the improper use of seatbelts, booster seats and child restraints. Almost everyone buckles up their infants and small children when in the car, but problems occur when they are not buckled properly. When purchasing a children’s car seat or booster seat, make sure to read the instructions carefully. For instance, an infant or small child should never be placed in a front seat, regardless of the type of car seat they’re in. In the event of an accident, an air bag will deploy at around 200 miles per hour, and will severely injure or kill a small person.

All infants should be securely strapped in their car seat – facing towards the rear of the car! In an accident, the back support of the car seat will help protect them from catastrophic injury, especially to the head and neck area. Even children who have outgrown a car seat, but are less than 80 pounds, should remain in the back seat in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt securely fastened.

A recent study found that only 10-20 percent of children who should be in a booster seat actually use them. A child in a booster seat is 59 percent less likely to be injured than a child restrained by a seatbelt alone!

Courts Rule U.S. Automakers Liable for Lack of Automotive Safety

The Supreme Court ruled recently that United States automakers can be sued for failure to install the most effective safety equipment in their vehicles.

The court’s decision means a California man can now sue Mazda Motors after his wife died after the lap belt she was wearing caused her body to jackknife in an accident in which she was a passenger in the middle of the back seat. The Mazda she was riding in had no shoulder restraint in that seat, and she died from severe abdominal injuries and internal bleeding.

The Supreme Court’s decision was a surprise reversal of a lower court’s ruling that said automaker’s were protected against lawsuits for failing to install immediately install air bags in all their vehicles.

The court’s reasoning was that lawsuits filed by injured motorists can lead to safer products. This ruling indicates a clear change of direction regarding automaker safety requirements. Every lower court had determined that federal rules pre-empted lawsuits by accident victims over seat-belt design. As of 2008, there are more than one million cars on the road  that have at least one lap-only belt.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jaywalking: Is It Worth the Risk?

Jaywalking is both illegal and dangerous -- a pedestrian is killed every 3-1/2 minutes in the U.S. -- yet many people admit to doing it frequently, a recent PEMCO Insurance poll has discovered.

What exactly is jaywalking? It occurs when a pedestrian crosses a street or highway outside of a marked crosswalk, or uses a crosswalk before the walk signal indicates it's safe to proceed. It is illegal in Washington state, and can result in a fine of between $50 and $100, depending on the circumstances.

With more than 622 pedestrians killed in traffic-related accidents in Washington in the past decade, you would think people would be more wary, but the recent PEMCO poll found that nearly one-third (31%) of Washington drivers admitted to jaywalking, despite national data that shows 20 percent of pedestrian deaths are due to illegal crossing attempts.

Even though many of the respondents admitted to jaywalking, 70 percent of drivers surveyed agree that jaywalkers should be ticketed for failure to obey the law when crossing streets or intersections.

The PEMCO poll also revealed that while 33 percent of respondents think the law favors pedestrians over drivers, a vast majority (81%) favored consequences for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians legally crossing the street.

According to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), vehicles must stop for pedestrians crossing roadways within both marked and unmarked crosswalks.  When turning through a crosswalk, vehicles must also yield to pedestrians until they are a safe distance away. Drivers who fail to yield under those circumstances can be cited with a traffic ticket and fine, according to the law.

Offenders Typically Younger

Drivers under 35 wanted more lenient laws against jaywalking, according to the PEMCO poll. It revealed that 43 percent of these younger drivers admitted to jaywalking at least some of the time. Predictably, about one-third of these same drivers thought jaywalkers should go unpunished if caught.

Men were more likely than women to cross illegally, 37 percent to 26 percent. The poll also found a possible correlation between jaywalking and aggressive driving. Those who often or sometimes jaywalk are more likely to speed, tailgate or fail to yield than others.

Source: PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be Aware: You May Not Be Covered When Using Your Personal Car for Business Purposes

There are lots of drivers out there who are driving around with personal auto insurance, but making money doing it, either by delivering something or someone, or providing a service that they get paid to do. They may not know it, but if they have an accident while doing this, their insurance company probably won't cover their claim!

Why? Because they don't have a commercial auto policy, which is required for any driving that is done for "business purposes".

If your employer lets you use a company car, then they are responsible for paying to insure it. You have nothing to worry about, since you are covered in the event of an accident while on the job. However, some companies expect employees to use their own vehicles when they’re on company business. This gray area between business and personal use raises a number of questions, and you don’t want to be without the proper coverage if you are involved in a car accident. It can get expensive!

If you don’t actually deliver a product, what constitutes “business purposes”? Some insurance companies define it as transporting goods for money. That could include activities such as:
  • Daycare/church bus or van services
  • Door-to-door consulting services
  • Catering
  • Landscaping or snowplowing services
Some companies even consider real estate agents as using their cars for commercial purposes. You need to ask your insurance agent now, so you don’t get denied if you file a claim down the road.

A good rule of thumb is if you’re using your car more than 50 percent of the time for business (to make money), then you probably need a commercial auto policy.

If you drive around all day making sales calls, you may only need to increase the liability limits on your personal auto policy. However, if you get direct compensation from the use of your car, such as making deliveries or using it as a taxi service, then you need a commercial auto policy. It may mean higher rates, but if you fail to divulge this to your insurance company and then you’re involved in an accident, the company may deny your claim if it discovers you withheld that information.

Using a Personal Car on Company Business

Big companies typically have commercial auto policies that cover employees while they’re traveling on company business. If you have an accident in this situation, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company, but it’s also possible your employer’s insurance will pay. Check with your employer AND your personal insurance agent in advance so that you know where to turn in the event of an accident. You don’t want to be caught in the middle while the two companies point fingers at each other!

If you have an accident while on a business trip in your own car, make sure the insurance adjuster is aware that was a business-related trip. Your personal auto insurance provider shouldn’t deny your claim just because you were on a business, although it may try to recover the money from your employer’s insurance company.

How do you know if you need commercial vehicle insurance? 

Here are some important questions:

• What are your limits on liability? A commercial auto policy offers higher liability limits because a company has more assets to protect than most individuals, so the limits need to be higher. In addition, most commercial vehicles are larger than passenger vehicles, so they can cause more damage. If you have a large commercial-type vehicle that you use for work purposes, then you probably need a commercial automobile policy.

• Will your insurance policy cover damage your vehicle causes while you’re on the job? While a personal policy won’t, a commercial policy will.

• Do you have employees who drive your vehicle? If other people drive your vehicle for any work purposes, you need commercial insurance.

You also need a commercial automobile policy if the vehicle hauls tools or equipment weighing more than 500 pounds, makes deliveries or requires filings for interstate for-hire trucking businesses.

Don’t be caught driving a personal car for business-related activities while only carrying a personal auto insurance policy. The cost may be less, but if you are in an accident and it is determined to be work-related, your claim will be denied. That will end up costing you many times more than the commercial rate you would’ve been paying!

If you would like to find out if you need commercial auto insurance, one of our SAV-ON Insurance agents would be happy to help. Call 1-888-867-2866.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Cell Phones: Both a Blessing and a Curse

The Blessing

Cell phones have become a standard equipment for many of us, as calling or texting has improved communication greatly. Not only do Mom and Dad have cell phones, but most of the kids do, too. Parents can keep track of their kids, business people can stay in touch with their customers -- whether they're sitting at their desk or out in the field -- and low-cost long-distance plans keep people in touch with distant friends and relatives that in the past was impractical and costly.

The Curse

Of course, there is a downside to the ubiquitous cell phone, such as when people in restaurants, movie theaters, or on public transportation loudly converse on anything and everything about their lives in public, ignoring the fact that most people don't care to hear it, or worse, are offended by it. Like most new technology, it's a lack of etiquette and courtesy on the part of the user that causes the problem, not the device itself. If you use a cell phone, please be aware that people around you may not want to hear your conversation, and find someplace private to talk. Just because you can talk just about anywhere, it doesn't mean you SHOULD. We don't want to know what you're planning for dinner. Really.


For drivers, there are now bluetooth earpieces for cell phones that allow for hands-free driving, enabling commuters to conduct business while on the road, and friends and family to communicate. Now they can carry on conversations in their car, with their hands full, grocery shopping, or pretty much anywhere they choose. The convenience is liberating, but, once again, this can make it less than appealing to the people subjected to a bluetooth user's conversation, such as when they are in a public place and are seemingly talking to themselves. This can disturb people around them, and many times the device cannot be seen, so others mistakenly think someone is talking to them. This can be annoying or downright embarrassing!

Social etiquette aside, cell phones have brought an incredible amount of communication to our fingertips. The latest cell phones have everything but hot and cold running water. Most of it is just fun and games, but cell phones can perform some very important functions. Getting to know these features could come in very handy someday.
Features and Handy Tips:

GPS Technology
Disney has a cell phone with GPS technology that allows the parent to track the location of the handset. This was designed for parents with children between 10 and 15 years old. Parents can control the times and days the children use the cell phone, and the child can feel safer knowing that their parents know where they are when they're not at home.

Mobile Emergency # 112
(Finds existing network. Can be used even if keypad is locked)

If Keys Get Locked in Car
Call home and spare keyless entry button can be pushed on cell phone. You hold your cell phone about a foot away from car door and it will open it!

For Reserve Battery Power:
If cell battery runs out, push *3370# and you will get 50% power. Will recharge the reserve when recharged
Write Down Cell Phone Serial Number:
Push *#06# and a 15-digit code will display. Write down and keep in safe place. If phone gets stolen, give code to phone company and phone will be disabled.

Free Mobile Directory Assistance:
Instead of 4-1-1, which is a charged call, dial 800-FREE411 (800-373-3411) and there is no charge for directory assistance.

You may know of other tricks and tips in addition to the ones listed here. We'd love to hear about them!